February 2019

Ranch Water Recipe

January 31, 2019 | By

Whip up some ranch waters at home with the Capri’s easy-to-recreate recipe.

Photo: The Window in the Chisos Basin

January 31, 2019 | By

Big Bend National Park boasts several distinctive and must-visit geological features, and the Window in the Chisos Basin is among the most iconic. The natural break in the rim serves as a picturesque frame for the distant desert landscape below. The Window can be seen from various parts of the basin, including the Chisos Mountain Lodge’s restaurant patio. However, a moderately difficult descent of less than 1,000 feet over a couple of miles of Oak Creek Canyon along the Window Trail provides the most spectacular view.

What the Heck is Ranch Water?

January 31, 2019 | By Shawna Graves

You can belly up to any bar in West Texas, whether it’s a dark dive or a glamorous hotel, and, without even glancing at a menu, order a ranch water. Heck, these days, you can do that at pretty much any bar in Texas. The simple cocktail has developed quite the fan base, and it’s led to contested origin stories and bubbling debate about the proper ingredients.

La Kiva Restaurant Helps Heal the Terlingua Community

January 31, 2019 | By John Davidson

On the banks of Terlingua Creek, a ramp leads down into La Kiva, one of the most famous bar/restaurants in the Big Bend area. In Hopi culture, a kiva is an underground chamber used for religious and political meetings. But this kiva is a meeting place for the dreamers, lost souls, river guides, and tourists who are drawn to the old mining town and surrounding desert.

How to Make Chile Macho

January 31, 2019 | By Shawna Graves

A longside traditional barbecue sauces and fixins, an unusual accoutrement kicks things up a notch at Come and Take It BBQ in Alpine. A salsa with origins in Northern Mexico known as chile macho graces the eatery’s
tables, as it does many across West Texas. Owner Scott Turner uses a chile macho recipe he learned from his childhood best friend’s mother, Terlingua resident Dominga Acosta.

Where to Find 4 Hidden Gems off Big Bend’s Beaten Path

January 31, 2019 | By Clayton Maxwell

Jaw-dropping hikes like the Window Trail and South Rim draw visitors back to Big Bend National Park year after year. But with 1,252 square miles to roam, the park also teems with trails less traveled. Many visitors stick to five or six popular trails, but for hikers who want to go farther, go wilder, and get off the beaten path, park officials recommend these four secluded options.

Epic Photos Reveal Big Bend’s Splendor in Black and White

January 30, 2019 | By

Rob Decker and his wife, marceia decker, arrived in Big Bend National Park in April 2017 with the goal to capture a single iconic photograph he could use as the centerpiece of a poster he was designing. Decker found plenty of options: He says he was taken aback by the craggy peaks of the Chisos Mountains and the remoteness of the desert. “While most national parks are somewhat out of the way, I was surprised at just how far Big Bend is from most anything, how vast it is, and the different opportunities for recreation it offers,” he says.
The couple explored Big Bend from Rio Grande Village and Panther Junction, to the Chisos Basin and Santa Elena Canyon, where Decker hiked to the banks of the Rio Grande. He then took off his shoes and waded into the river. “Even though it was spring, it was a hot day, and the cool water was a welcome relief,” he recalls. “As I sat on the rocks overlooking the Rio Grande, I thought about the Native Americans, ranchers, miners, and pioneers who at one time or another had called this place their home.”
Decker calls Longmont, Colorado, home. He was just 19 years old when he studied under legendary photographer Ansel Adams at Yosemite National Park, an experience that shapes his work to this day.
Decker is on a journey to visit, photograph, and create a poster for every national park in the United States. His endeavor, fittingly enough, is called The National Park Poster Project, with stylings that hark to the popular New Deal-era national park posters of the late 1930s and early 1940s. With each poster, he hopes to raise awareness of both the grandeur and the continued need to protect America’s natural treasures—and with 43 parks down, he only has 17 to go.
After four days in Big Bend, he left with a trove of images, including an epic shot of Santa Elena Canyon. It fit perfectly on his poster.

Treat Yourself With a Desert Cure That Smells Like a West Texas Rainstorm

January 30, 2019 | By Melissa Gaskill

Deep in the heart of a ranch sprawling across the foothills of the Chinati Mountains, a stand of dark-green creosote bushes contrasts with the rocky landscape. The August weather is hot and dry, but these plants have some secret source of water. Candace Covington discovered them several years ago while helping with one of several archaeological digs on the ranch.

Ditch the Survival Skills With These 3 Easy Ways to Explore Big Bend National Park

January 30, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

BIG BEND National Park can be intimidating. Countless photographs behold the region’s undeniable grandeur, its spectacular amalgam of desert, mountain, river, and sky. But the images also convey vast emptiness—16th-century Spanish explorers dubbed this territory el despoblado, “the uninhabited.” And those scenic photos often overlook the granular details, where scorpions, thorns, snakes, sunburns, and blisters reside. So it’s understandable when the uninitiated knit their brows at the thought of Big Bend, weighing a vacation experience against fears of a survival exercise in the Chihuahuan Desert borderlands.

A New Texan Finds Beauty and Solitude Amongst the Living and the Dead in Terlingua

January 30, 2019 | By Edward Carey  Illustrations by: Edward Carey

I live 4,900 miles away from England, where I was born, on any day of the week. But on that day, home was getting farther away still. It’s not just the eight-hour drive with my family from Austin, where we now live, to Terlingua. It’s something else, something farther than the distance … everything is left behind en route.

A 1930s Photograph Shows CCC’s Role in Building Big Bend National Park

January 29, 2019 | By

Big Bend National Park was little more than a hopeful idea when about 200 young men arrived in the Chisos Mountains in 1934 on deployment with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hungry for work amid the hardship of the Great Depression, the workers, ages 18 to 25 and mostly Hispanic, toiled in isolated, harsh conditions to construct infrastructure for what was then Big Bend State Park. The CCC established a camp in the shadow of Casa Grande peak—still the location of the Chisos Basin campground—and blasted 10,000 truckloads of rock to build Green Gulch Road from the desert floor into the basin. A second CCC crew stationed in Big Bend from 1940 to 1942 built the popular Lost Mine Trail, a store, and four cottages that have been used for lodging since the national park opened in 1944.

My Hometown: Born of Turbulent Times, Mason Today Offers Hill Country Peace and Charm

January 29, 2019 | By Clayton Maxwell

When writer and historian Scott Zesch walks through the central square of Mason, everybody he meets has something to say, a question to ask, or a handshake to offer. You’re likely to be a familiar fellow around town when your great-great grandfather settled in the area from Germany in the mid-1850s, you went to Mason High School, and you’re known for throwing rollicking chili parties. First settled as a fort in 1851, Mason formed as a community of Old World settlers scratching out a new life in harsh Comanche country. Zesch brings this history to life in his award-winning book, The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, which chronicles the lives of nine kidnapped children, including his great-great-great uncle Adolph Korn. Here Zesch, who lives on his nearby family ranch with his wife, Amelia, muses on Mason’s past and present.

Fossils Tell a Story of Vanished Worlds in Big Bend National Park

January 29, 2019 | By Asher Elbein

The northbound road through Big Bend National Park winds between scab-colored volcanic hills and the baking white flats of the Chihuahuan Desert. During the day, little moves out here but the wind; the heat presses down heavy and hard on the rock shelves. The landscape feels frozen, dry, and dead. In a word, timeless.

The Daytripper’s Top 5 in Comstock

January 29, 2019 | By Chet Garner

There are places in the far reaches of Texas where few dare to travel, which is exactly what attracted me to western Val Verde County. It’s a rugged land where the jackrabbits far outnumber the people. A place where the tales are tall, the canyons are deep, and the mysteries are even deeper. If you find yourself trippin’ to the edge of Texas, don’t miss these stops.

An East Coaster Learns to Live in (And Love) the Wide-Open Space of West Texas

January 28, 2019 | By Rachel Monroe

Historian and Author Lonn Taylor on Growing up in the Philippines and Settling in the Big Bend

January 28, 2019 | By Wes Ferguson

Now 78 years old, Taylor is an old-fashioned raconteur with a bushy mustache, Stetson Open Road hat, and an assortment of snappy bow ties. He’s also the author of more than half a dozen books and a historian who draws inspiration from his adopted home of the Big Bend.

A Tropical Winter Weekend Getaway in Harlingen

January 28, 2019 | By Daniel Blue Tyx

The business loop of US 77 running through Harlingen is called Sunshine Strip, and the name couldn’t be more accurate. Harlingen boasts February highs of around 73 degrees and an average of only three days of rain for the entire month. For decades, snowbirds from across the United States and Canada have made the city a winter home; the airport even has seasonal direct flights from Minneapolis, Chicago, and Denver.

The Inspiring Story Behind Big Bend National Park’s Founding 6 Days After D-Day

January 28, 2019 | By Emily Roberts Stone, Executive Editor

Seventy-five years ago this summer, the country was gripped by news of the Allied invasion of Nazi-
occupied Europe. But even at the height of the conflict, the commander-in-chief could not resist turning his attention, at least for a few minutes, to West Texas. On June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt met with a Texas delegation to discuss the future of what would become Big Bend National Park. Six days later, he signed legislation establishing it, capping a decades-long effort to preserve a state and national treasure.

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